Truth Behind #MerryChristmasStarbucks

In case you haven't heard, Starbucks' Christmas/holiday coffee cups this year are just (wait for it) red.


You're probably thinking, "So what?" but an "internet personality" name Josh Feuerstein (with whom I'm unfamiliar) thinks it's a huge deal. Feuerstein made a video because Starbucks clearly hates Christians and Christmas for not having "Merry Christmas" and other Christmas-y things on their cups. And then, super clever Feuerstein came up with the idea to start a "social media movement" where people use the hashtag #MerryChristmasStarbucks to let Starbucks know how Bah-Humbug-y they are in their holiday Christian hating.

Um. What?

In full disclosure, I'm a Christian. I even head up a non-profit that is based on the Christian principles of giving and helping others. And, I have an issue with this kind of "movement" coming from Christians. Here's why:

When a movement of this magnitude starts on social media, it takes away from other (important and unimportant) things going on. Everyone has a sliding scale of importance. Your scale may tell you that trending Kardashian news is high on your scale of importance. Or, it may tell you that a story about helping an abandoned puppy is high on your scale of importance. Whatever it is, when something starts to trend on social media it has the ability to reach millions of people.


And that's where #MerryChristmasStarbucks falls short. So, you're getting a bunch of people to hashtag a coffee company. So what?

I'm not saying don't stand up for what you believe in -- you should and you should also take measures that are appropriate for you to support your belief systems. What confuses me about #MerryChristmasStarbucks is that the Feuerstein isn't asking you to boycott Starbucks. In fact, what he wants you to do is to continue supporting Starbucks and when you order your drink say your name is "Merry Christmas" so that Starbucks employees are forced to write "Merry Christmas" on their cup. In his video, Feuerstein then proudly goes on about how he "tricked" Starbucks into writing "Merry Christmas" on his cup. To which I say, "This accomplishes what, exactly?"

I hate to break the news to Feuerstein, but what he's started is a buzz (not a movement). If you really want to start a movement, give it an end game. If you truly believe that Starbucks is taking Christianity out of Christmas, then give up your triple, venti, half sweet, non-fat, caramel macchiato and encourage the boycott as your movement.

Or, here's a better idea: how about letting people know that 1 in 6 Americans will be hungry this Thanksgiving?

Or, how about letting people know that the money spent for just five days of gourmet coffee can instead be used to sponsor two children for Christmas?

Or, how about starting a social media movement letting people know that for the cost of one gourmet coffee we can give approximately 30 hungry kids a cup of milk each.

Here's the thing about movements like #MerryChristmasStarbucks: it gets everyone in an uproar and talking and tweeting and patting themselves on the back for starting a movement which helps ... exactly no one. And, it's that type of self-congratulatory Christianity that I can't get behind.

(For the record, I don't care if Starbucks has plain red cups. We have more important things, like trying to feed hungry kids in need, on our radar over here.)


A version of this post appeared on If you would like to #makemovementsreal, you can sponsor a family for Thanksgiving or a child for the holidays.